When a trusted doctor, medical staff member, or hospital fails to provide adequate care to a mother giving birth, serious injuries can result. Sometimes a doctor’s malpractice can cause harm to both the mother and infant. Some of these cases are rare, but serious nonetheless.
Birth malpractice encompasses several different claims that each require a different approach. Some of these include:
- Injury to either mother or child during the course of the pregnancy or delivery
- A wrongful birth, meaning the parents would have avoided the pregnancy had they’d known about possible birth defects.
- A wrongful pregnancy, meaning the parents intended to avoid or end a pregnancy but failed because of medical error.
For each of these situations, specific rules exist for who can sue and what kinds of damages can be recovered. Consulting your birth malpractice attorney will help clarify things.
Injuries to the mother or infant.
The least common case, but also the most serious. A doctor’s malpractice can cause injuries to either mother or infant, before or during delivery. This can happen when he or she fails to control excessive blood loss after delivery or does not adequately monitor the infant’s oxygen before and after delivery.
If the infant experiences injuries, the parents act on behalf of the infant bringing the lawsuit and asking for damages. General damages will include the cost of medical, physical, and emotional suffering, as well as loss of enjoyment.
If the mother is injured, she brings the malpractice claim if a doctor’s error or carelessness is what caused her injury prior to or during the delivery. The parents together can also sue for emotional injury for the pain and suffering caused by the injury to their infant.
With this type of action, parents can that it was the doctor’s responsibility to warn them about their child’s high risk of birth defects. If they had been made aware of this, the parents would have likely opted to end the pregnancy or avoid the pregnancy altogether. These claims are usually based on faulty or negligent genetic testing before the actual conception, or failure to detect the birth defects at the early stages of pregnancy.
The damages for a wrongful birth claim usually cover the costs arising from the child’s disorder. Medical expenses, therapy, and special educational costs are all included in these damages. These costs begin at birth and continue throughout the life of the child. There is also the emotional pain and suffering of the parents associated with raising a special needs child. Wrongful birth claims are brought about by the parents in most states. There are limits to the recovery of damages in certain states. A child is not allowed to sue for a wrongful birth the majority of time. But there are certain instances when a child can opt to sue for a wrongful life claim.
If the parents were actively trying to avoid pregnancy through sterilization, testing, or abortion but still became pregnant because of a doctor or medical staff member’s error or negligence, they can then file a wrongful pregnancy claim. In these instances, the child is born healthy but the parents can sue for the economic or emotional damages caused by the unwanted birth. Depending on what state you’re in, the damages normally include economic losses. Some states allow pain and suffering caused by the unwanted pregnancy.
Finding an attorney who can help.
Birth malpractice is a complicated issue that requires the guidance of a specialized attorney. It’s essential to find this kind of lawyer to get the help you need.